Height: 187.000 mm
Width: 117.000 mm
Archives CE 83/ A41147.2957
Henry Wood's application for a ticket for The British Museum Library
London, England, 7 July 1890
The young musician applies to use the Library to study music
Henry Joseph Wood (1869-1944) used the Reading Room of The British Museum Library for the first time on 16 July 1890. He wrote this letter soon after his twenty-first birthday, when he became old enough to apply for a reader's ticket.
Wood writes that his studies in the Reading Room will be mostly on the subject of music, 'of the Science of which I am a Professor'. He was evidently aiming to impress, for he was not officially a 'Professor', though he was a professional musician. He had studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and was working as a teacher of singing.
But, five years after this letter was written, he was invited to become the first conductor of the series of 'promenade concerts' for which he became famous. He conducted the concerts for fifty years, and shortly before he died in 1944 they were re-named the 'Henry Wood Promenade Concerts'.
Today, thousands of people go to the Proms, listen to them on radio, or watch them on television. On the 'Last Night of the Proms' the bust of Sir Henry Wood in the Royal Albert Hall is decorated with a wreath of laurel leaves.